Filing a joint tax return means more than just signing your name at the bottom of the return. If you file a joint return with your spouse and the information is false or wrong, the IRS has the right to collect the tax that is due from either of you because you both signed the return. The IRS does not have to try to figure out who made the mistake or who failed to report all income. The government may take legal action against both spouses together or either spouse individually. Even if you have since divorced or separated, the IRS has the right to choose which way they will try to collect the tax. The IRS is not bound by the order of a divorce decree stating that one spouse must pay all the taxes. If you decide to file a joint tax return, it is clearly in your best interest to carefully review the return before you sign it, since you can be held liable for everything in it.
Tax law regulations are available that may protect you from the mistakes of your ex-spouse. If the IRS is attempting to collect a tax from you that was incurred jointly with a spouse or former spouse, we can assist you in determining whether you qualify for relief.
- Evaluate your current situation to determine if you qualify for Innocent Spouse Relief, and if so, which option is right for you (there is more than one).
- Work with you to gather the necessary information for the tax year(s) at issue and submit your package to the IRS.
- Communicate with the IRS on your behalf to resolve any remaining issues or concerns.
A. There are three types of relief available to “Innocent Spouses.”
1. Innocent Spouse Relief – Provides you relief from joint and individual tax liability if that tax liability resulted from your spouse or former spouse failing to report income, reported income improperly, or claimed improper deductions or credits.
2. Separation of Liability Relief – Provides for the splitting of a tax liability between you and your former spouse. Your share of the tax liability is the portion for which you are responsible.
3. Equitable Relief – Provides a means of offering relief to one spouse when the facts support a finding that it would be unfair to hold you liable for the tax liability.
Q. Will I qualify for Innocent Spouse Relief?
A. To qualify for Innocent Spouse Relief you must establish that you filed a joint return for the year in which the liability arose, that you did not know or have reason to know that their was an understatement of tax when you signed the return, and that it would be unfair to hold you liable for the understatement. Lastly, the claim for relief must be filed no later than 2 years after the date the IRS first attempted to collect the tax from you. We recommend you Schedule a Consultation with us to determine how we might help. We do not recommend contacting the IRS on your own.
Q. If I live in a community property state, can I still apply for Innocent Spouse Relief?
A. Generally, community property laws require you to allocate community income and expenses equally between both spouses. However, community property laws are not taken into account in determining whether an item belongs to you or your spouse (or former spouse) for purposes of requesting relief from tax liability.
Q. Will my ex know if I apply for Innocent Spouse Relief?
A. The IRS is required to notify the non-requesting spouse to allow them to participate. They will also be notified of the determination on your election although they cannot protest it.
Q. What is the cost of your Innocent Spouse Relief service?
A. Our IRS tax resolution fees are based on our flex-fee structure, and all costs are pre-approved by you when you decide to hire us. We offer payment plans, if needed, and set our fees so you do not have to worry about unexpected legal bills. There are no surprises, no add-ons. Because every situation is different, we recommend you Schedule a Tax Consultation so we can discuss your case in detail.